Archive for the ‘Harvesting’ Category
Read the first chapter:
2172 Rayburn HOB, 2:30 PM, September 12, 2012:
Thank you for inviting me to participate in this profoundly important hearing. Beginning in 2006, I began conducting comprehensive interviews with medical professionals, Chinese law enforcement personnel, and over 50 refugees from the Laogai System, in order to piece together the story of how mass harvesting from prisoners of conscience evolved in China. Based on my research, the practice began in Xinjiang in the late 1990s. By 2001 the practice expanded nationwide, with Falun Gong providing a much larger, and frequently anonymous, pool of potential ‘donors.’
Yet my time today is short. I too was skeptical when I began my investigation, as some of you may be today. So instead of offering my conclusions, I invite you to draw your own conclusions from my evidence—twelve witnesses, each of whom fills in a critical piece of the organ harvesting puzzle—before I speculate, briefly, on the implications and the full human cost.
I’ll also touch upon the potential function of the quit-the-CCP movement
I think most people in this room are familiar with Harry Wu’s research. Harvesting criminals began in the 1980s. By the early 1990s it had become systemic, a practice involving “organ donation” consent forms and mobile harvesting vans at execution sites. The donors were criminals. And whether or not the criminals signed the forms under duress, they had been convicted of capital crimes under Chinese law.
My first witness, Nijat Abdureyimu, special officer, 1st Regiment, Urumqi Public Security Bureau, doesn’t dispute any of that. But he does note that by 1994, the doctors doing the harvesting became increasingly uninhibited. That’s when his fellow officer puzzled over the screams—“like from hell”—that he heard coming from a harvesting van. Two years later the prison’s medical director confessed to Nijat that organ harvesting from living human beings—they would expire during the surgery of course—was now routine.
My second witness, Dr. Enver Tohti, general surgeon, based in an Urumqi hospital, recalls an execution ground outside the city in 1995: a prisoner shot in the chest, not to kill, but to send the body into deep shock, minimizing the squirming and contractions that could make harvesting problematic. Under his supervisor’s firm direction, Enver performed a live surgical extraction of the man’s liver and kidneys.
The execution ground was commonly used for political prisoners, and the man had long hair, rather than a convict’s shaved head. But Enver will not speculate, nor will I: there are no fully credible allegations of doctors harvesting political or religious prisoners—who only very rarely can plausibly be sentenced to death under Chinese law—until 1997, the year of the “Ghulja Incident.”
If what flashed through your mind when you read that title was a British expat and a Chinese high official’s wife…I hope to persuade you by the end of my article to think quite differently.
Photo by Simon Gross/3 Lotus Media
- Winner of The Browser’s 2011 Leaderboard Competition (i.e. best long-form essay of the year according to the readers)
- Winner of The New York Times Sidney Award (i.e. David Brooks liked it)
Back in 2009, I gave a talk at the Foreign Press Association in London. I’ve lost 35 pounds since then (made you look!) and I have also revised the numbers slightly based on new information (and some mulling as well). That’s what this post is about. Since 2009, I have been quoted in several places, most recently here) on my estimates of how many Falun Gong were harvested during the last decade or so.
[UPDATE: I was also quoted recently (and fairly extensively) in CQ Global Researcher v.5-14 on the subject of Falun Gong organ harvesting and trafficking. Here’s a teaser: “At least 62,000 were victims of organ harvesting operations from 2000-2008, according to Matas and Kilgour and Ethan Gutmann, an investigative journalist.” Anyway, you can buy the entire report here]
The truth is that outside of a few, select individuals in the Chinese military hospitals and the 6-10 office, we don’t know the answer to that question. But I believe estimates are possible, and even useful, as long as we do not engage in false precision and stay reasonably conservative. My estimates are based on a sample of approximately 50 Falun Gong refugees from the Laogai system. Not what I would like, but good enough for a wartime sample. Yet I also flag that inherent imprecision by coming up with a low estimate and a high estimate. I don’t truly believe in either extreme. The truth is probably found somewhere in the middle and that’s why I provide a best estimate, or a median.
Shrewd observers will note that I originally gave a best estimate of approximately 85,000, and now I’m saying about 65,000. I’ll give you the rationale for those new numbers in a minute, but here’s the main reason they changed: I sat down with the Laogai Foundation researchers in DC and they informed me that they had revised their total estimate of the Laogai System (defined as labor camps, prisons, black jails, psychiatric hospitals, long-term detention centers, the lot) down from 4-6 million to 3-5 million. I have reasonable confidence in their logic surrounding this point, so I have revised my estimates accordingly.